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Determinants of the Growth Semi-Elasticity of Poverty Reduction

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In this paper we examine the mathematical relationship between growth and distributional change on absolute (i.e. percentage point) changes in FGT poverty measures assuming a log-normal income distribution, which we argue to be a conceptually superior and more policy-relevant measure than the much used ’regular’ growth elasticity of poverty reduction. We also test the empirical relationship of these semi-elasticities of growth and distributional change on poverty and find them to explain actual changes in poverty very well (in fact, much better than a related study by Bourguignon (2003) that studied the growth elasticity of poverty reduction). This is particularly the case when poverty depth and severity is considered. Using our results helps in interpreting past performance in poverty reduction and will allow a rapid and quite reliable prediction of the impact of growth and distributional change on (absolute) poverty reduction across countries, taking heterogeneity in country circumstances into account.

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  • Stephan Klasen & Mark Misselhorn, 2008. "Determinants of the Growth Semi-Elasticity of Poverty Reduction," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 176, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:iaidps:176
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    1. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997. "What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-382, May.
    2. Ravallion, Martin & Huppi, Monika, 1991. "Measuring Changes in Poverty: A Methodological Case Study of Indonesia during an Adjustment Period," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(1), pages 57-82, January.
    3. Kraay, Aart, 2006. "When is growth pro-poor? Evidence from a panel of countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 198-227, June.
    4. Kakwani, Nanak, 1993. "Poverty and Economic Growth with Application to Cote d'Ivoire," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(2), pages 121-139, June.
    5. Rati Ram, 2006. "Growth Elasticity of Poverty: Alternative Estimates and a Note of Caution," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 601-610, November.
    6. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 2007. "China's (uneven) progress against poverty," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 1-42, January.
    7. Nanak Kakwani, 1993. "Poverty And Economic Growth With Application To Côte D'Ivoire," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(2), pages 121-139, June.
    8. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1992. "Growth and redistribution components of changes in poverty measures : A decomposition with applications to Brazil and India in the 1980s," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 275-295, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Poverty reduction; growth elasticity; growth semi-elasticity; income distribution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy

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